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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Media fury at Jakarta's 'failure'
Indonesian soldiers in front of empty coffins outside a hospital in Denpasar, Bali
Jakarta's failure to act is under the spotlight
Australian and Indonesian newspapers reacted with equal anger to the Bali bombing, blaming Indonesian President Megawati's government for ignoring several warning signals.

The Sydney Morning Herald says the bombing has stamped terrorism's bloody fingerprint on Australia's door - and also raised serious questions about the stability of Indonesia, Australia's nearest and most powerful neighbour.


Terrorism is at the front gate, There is no hiding from it, September 11 happened 'over there' - October 12 has hit home

The Courier-Mail, Brisbane
Melbourne's main paper, The Age, says it is likely the attack will result in the greatest single peacetime loss of Australian lives overseas.

The Age is hard hitting in its criticism of the Indonesian government.

"Indonesia has been playing with fire," it says, noting that leaders in Jakarta have refused to take the threats of terrorism in Indonesia seriously.

"Why didn't Jakarta arrest or detain key figures in Jemaah Islamiah, the militant Islamic cell with tentacles across Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore?" the paper demands.

"Now comes the gruesome day of reckoning."

Indonesian papers share The Age's outrage.

"Just about every single warning that has come from foreign governments was treated with disdain," the Jakarta Post says.

Muslim denial

"Now, we have to brace ourselves for the many domestic and international repercussions. Besides condemnation, we can expect more serious action that will hurt our political and economic standing."

The Media Indonesia daily also condemns the government, describing the attack as "an extremely powerful slap in the face" for an administration in denial leading a "lame country with incompetent intelligence personnel".

But the Muslim-oriented Republika daily cautions against assuming the bomb was the work of home-grown militants.

Instead it raises the possibility that the perpetrators were foreign intelligence operatives who want to "provide proof to justify their accusations" that Indonesia is a haven for terrorists.

Footballers' tragedy

Perth newspaper The West Australian conveys a very human side of the tragedy, telling the story of the Kingsley football club - whose players had been holidaying in Bali.

Laurie Kerr from Kingsley Football Club, Perth
Perth footballer Laurie Kerr: many team mates are missing

Despite their wounds, the paper says, surviving players scoured hospital corridors - dressed in their club shirts and wrapped in bandages - desperately searching for seven missing team mates.

The Courier-Mail, based in Brisbane, takes the attack personally. Even if it was intended as a broad attack on Westerners, the paper says, "it was an attack guaranteed to take the heaviest toll of Australia lives".

It speculates on why this should be the case.

Could it be Australia's military intervention in East Timor in 1999 after Indonesian militia went on the rampage in response to the territory's vote for independence?

Or could it be because Australia has been one of the most vocal supporters of US President George W Bush's policy on Iraq?

Whatever the reason, the paper says, one thing is certain.

"Terrorism is at the front gate, There is no hiding from it, September 11 happened 'over there'. October 12 has hit home."


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14 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
14 Oct 02 | UK
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